Journal Friday #54: Fodder and Interaction

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The basic definition of fodder is the coarse food fed to livestock, but another definition is the widely available materials for a given purpose. For me, fodder is the flotsam and jetsam of everyday life -- the ephemera that gathers from some of the most mundane places. I don't go to an arts and crafts store, a thrift store, or an antiques shop and buy papers, materials, and photos to use in my journal. I collect it from my life -- movie tickets, business cards, labels, maps, name tags, and much, much more. These are the things that I collect on my excursions out into the world whether I'm going to see a play or traveling across the country to teach.

Over time these bits and pieces gather into piles, trays, and bins, and they seem to take over my studio. Although I collect all of this stuff, I'm not great about gluing it all into my journal, and it piles up. So I sat down this week, and began using up some of this fodder. I dug through old and new alike, and decided to use as much as I could, and in fact, I spent a couple days where about all I did was glue things into my journals - maps, tickets, labels, drawings, and so much more. I used up an entire jumbo UHU glue stick.

When this fodder is glued into the journal, it's transformed from the mundane to the extraordinary and it becomes a great way to document my travels, my activities, and the little things that happen along the way. So I glued pieces to pages with lots of layers and also to blank pages as the initial layer. 

With some of the fodder, I worked and layered over top of it with ink, watercolor paint, and watercolor pencil as a way to push the collage into the page. This makes these somewhat random pieces become an integral part of the page. Since this ephemera is food for the journal, the journal slowly becomes fatter and fatter as the extra layers of stuff build up on the pages.

Along with gluing fodder into my large journal, I worked quite a bit in my smaller book. I began this book a couple of weeks ago as I began pondering ideas for a new workshop that I'm hoping to teach in a variety of places in 2019, but my approach has been a little different.

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I've been thinking about how pages can relate and tie together, and I've been linking pages with similar colors, similar lines, and similar ideas. This week, I added more fodder and collage to the book as well as ink, paint, and watercolor pencil. I've also been trying to create more interaction between and among pages with windows, cutouts, tunnels, wrap arounds, and even page tears. It's been a challenge to think of the journal in this way, and though I'm using ideas and techniques that I've always used, it's been great to stretch myself in a new direction. It's been interesting to explore how to create a visual narrative that threads through, between, and among the pages.

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As I have worked in both journals, ideas and themes are beginning to emerge, and though this emergence is still in the early stages, certain pages have started to take on a direction all their own. I love witnessing how these pages take shape. I never have a specific idea in mind when I start, and ideas and concepts emerge in the making. I can't wait to see where these pages and ideas are heading!

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Galax, Here I come!

I am super excited to be heading back to Galax, VA to teach at the Chestnut Creek School of the Arts, March 10th and 11th. I love trekking to this small southwestern Virginia city known for it's furniture and it's blue grass music. In part, I love where I get to stay - a little cabin minutes from  the downtown area, but I love the people. The class at the school have been small, but they've been filled with such awesome folks. I can't believe that it's just two and a half weeks away! Better sign up now!

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On Saturday, March 10th, I'll be teaching my Monster Maker Workshop as an all-day class. I just taught this at Art and Soul Portland as a three hour evening class, and everyone had so much fun. I can't wait to teach it as a six hour class. I'll be bringing my oven so that we can create polymer clay as well as shrink art creations, along with drawing, painting, and collage. Come on out and spend the day making monsters with me.


On Sunday, March 11th, I'll be teaching my Artful Layers class as another all-day workshop. We'll be exploring the layering of mixed media including watercolor, collage, ink, watercolor pencil, and much more. I recently taught this to a full class at the Round Hill Arts Center, and we had a grand time painting, drawing, and collaging. Come on out and may a solid creative mess with me.

I'd love to see you in Galax, VA for one or both of my workshops!

Art and Soul: Portland


What a fantastic week! I had such a wonderful time teaching in Portland at Art and Soul. I am truly grateful to everyone who came out for one of my three classes. It was fantastic having so many awesome students.

I kicked off my teaching with an evening stencil cutting class on Monday. Silly me got so caught up in the class that I completely forgot to take photos, but we had a good time creating unique stencils. I hope that the students got to use them in some of their other classes. And no blood was shed, which is always a good thing when students are wielding sharp craft knives.

We had a relaxing time Tuesday evening in my monster class. We drew, painted, and collaged a variety of monsters. There were a lot of giggles as the students created cute, humorous, silly, and wonderful monsters. It was great hearing from a few students how they continued to draw and create monsters even once class was over!

On Wednesday, we spent the day making a big, creative mess in my liquid acrylic painting class. We stamped and stenciled, scraped and splattered, transferred images and drew. Such fun!

I had a blast sharing my art, connecting with my students, and getting to know so many new people. A big thank you to everyone!

And of course, I made it downtown to check out Powell's Books and make a stop at Voodoo Doughnuts.

I got back late Thursday night, and despite a full day of travel, I'm totally energized by all of the awesomeness from my teaching experiences this week. Such awesome students, and such awesome energy. I rested and recharged a little yesterday, and I can't wait for my next workshops in a few weeks at the the Chestnut Creek School of the Arts in Galax, VA.

For all the happenings, check out the Events and Workshops page.

Journal Friday #53: Themes and Travel

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Despite spending four days in Portland teaching at Art and Soul, I was able to find quite a bit of time to work in my journal, especially during those in between times, and I began to develop some ideas and themes in both my big and little journals. I traditionally like to start a new journal with an I Am page so I added the words to the first page of my big book. Also, this week I've seen further evidence that the universe is always conspiring with us, so I had to ponder that in my journal as well, along with a few other thoughts.

I always love to journal when I travel, and I was able to begin a few new pages. One of the hazards of traveling with art supplies is that my checked luggage often gets searched. But on the bright side, the little note that TSA leaves makes for great fodder - as does the luggage tag. These bits and pieces are perfect for documenting a trip.

Finally, I was able to continue working in my small journal. This is the journal that I've been working out ideas for a new workshop, and I was able to add some embellishments to a few pages as I sat waiting at airports and restaurants. I was also able to begin a few other pages. The small size makes it easy to carry around and work in whenever I want.

2018 Western Loudoun Artists Studio Tour


I am excited to announce that I'll be part of the 13th Annual Western Loudoun Artists Studio Tour, and I'll be opening my home studio to the public the weekend of June 2 & 3, 2018. After missing the tour last year because of a teaching engagement, I am looking forward to sharing my art once again as part of this annual event that showcases the talents of such a diverse group of Northern Virginian artists.


So save the date, and stop on by June 2nd & 3rd!

Journal Friday #52: Embellishing and More

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This week I focused on continuing to build layers in my journal, and began to add some embellishments as well as some cutouts to many of the pages. I often think of embellishments as decorative elements that I can add without much thought or bother, and during the week, I found myself doodling many of these embellishments while watching television using ink pens and paint markers. They often take a bit of time to add, so evening television watching is a perfect time.

I also, spent some time cutting out some windows in multiple pages. These small rectangular cutouts give a glimpse of the page underneath and create a bit of interactivity to the journal. It's always interesting to see what glimpses are revealed in the widows. I spent time using watercolor pencil to add some layers as well.


Besides working in the big journal, I decided to break open a new, smaller journal to try out something a bit different. I've been developing an idea for a new workshop that I'm hoping to teach in the near future, and I've been excited to try out some ideas. I've been thinking about how words, images, colors and materials can play out across and through pages - how one page relates to another - how ideas can figuratively and literally flow from one page to another. I'm excited to see how it turns out, and I'll share more about the workshop when I have more to share.

Part 7 of the JFJ Daily Challenge on Sale Now!

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I'm a little late getting Part 7 out. I had every intention of publishing it last Thursday, but I didn't quite get it finished. I'm not really certain where January went, but I worked most of the day today to finalize the latest part of The Journal Fodder Junkies Daily Challenge. This ebook has 28 new challenges to get you through February, and it also has 3 pages of fodder that you can print and use in your work.

I hope you enjoy it. Check out the Shop to purchase!

Ramping Up for Spring Workshops!


Spring is usually a busy time for me as I travel and teach a variety of workshops, and this year, it's getting started a little early. A week from now, I'll be in Portland, OR to teach at Art and Soul, but things are just going to get a lot busier after that. So if you can't make to Portland, there's a lot in the upcoming months.

After Portland, I'll be returning to southwestern Virginia, as I teach two, full-day workshops at the Chestnut Creek School of the Arts in Galax, VA. You can catch Monster Maker Workshop on Saturday, March 10, and Artful Layers on Sunday, March 11.

For the remainder of March, David and I will be working with art students and educators in a variety of venues. First, we will be heading Roxbury High School in New Jersey to work with high school students on March 14, and then it's off to Seattle the following week for the National Art Education Association's annual convention where we will be presenting a variety of presentations and workshops. To end March, we travel to Harford County, MD to work with teachers.

I'll be teaching two workshops in April, one locally and one in Kansas City. On April 14, I travel to Harrisonburg, VA to teach a full-day Artful Layers workshop at Larkin Arts, and then I'll be teaching a two-day version of Artful Layers at Amanda Jolley's Studio Joy in Kansas City, MO the weekend of April 28-29. 

I'll end the Spring in Asheville, NC with a two-day, mixed media workshop, Mapping the Journey, at 310 Art in the River Arts District on May 19th and 20th.

And if that wasn't enough, I'll be teaching a variety of kids and adult art classes and workshops locally at the Round Hill Arts Center, in Round Hill, VA.


So, I invite you to join me, and take a workshop or two over the next few months! I hope to see you!

Journal Friday #51

This week, I continued building on many of the pages that I have started over the past few weeks using mostly water soluble pencil and paint pen. I've also added some collage as well, but the bulk of the work has been building up layers of colors, shapes, and textures. I didn't focus too much on theme, and many of the pages that I worked on this week are mostly bare of words and images. The meaning will come!


Art-Filled Days


The last few days have been filled with making art, teaching art, and seeing art - quite a good way to spend some days.

It all started Friday night with an opening for good friend, Steve Loya's Endangered Species exhibit at the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery in Washington, DC. Over the past year, Steve created 50 drawings of endangered species on colorful backgrounds as a way to learn more about these threatened animals. It was great seeing all the work presented together in such a wonderful space. It's an impressive collection!

Congratulations, Steve! Awesome job!


I then spent Sunday afternoon teaching my Artful Layers mixed media class at the Round Hill Arts Center. Eleven awesome students spent 3 hours exploring watercolor, watercolor pencil, collage, and image transfers. I loved seeing all of the different artwork created by the students. I am so grateful that they chose to spend the afternoon making art with me.

Finally, today I trekked to Harrisonburg, VA to check out and exhibit by David and our good friend Sam Peck. As part of their collaborative journal project, they spent the weekend installing their exhibit Draw and Play Here: A tet[R]ad Project at the Institute of Visual Studies at James Madison University. They transformed the space into an immersive art experience where viewers can spend time flipping through the many collaborative journals, create work in some of the blank journals, or simply take in the expansive artwork.

Congratulations, Dave and Sam. Very impressive.